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Environment, Political

Australia’s fossil fuel hypocrisy called out on the world stage

The Australia Institute 2 mins read

Media Release | Tuesday 19 September 2023

As Australia’s Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, defends her right to ignore climate science when approving coal mines in the Australian Federal Court and Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong prepares to attend the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit in New York, a coalition of more than 220 world-renowned scientists and experts are publicly calling on the Australian Government to abandon its extensive plans for fossil fuel production.

The open letter, published in The New York Times, has been signed by leading climate scientists including Professor Michael Mann, Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Professor Jing-Jia Luo, Dr Peter Kalmus and Dr Joelle Gergis. Eminent experts include Farhana Sultana, Bill McKibben, Sunita Narain and Nobel Laureates JM Coetzee and Laureate Professor Peter Doherty.

The letter urges Australia to follow the advice of the United Nations, the International Energy Agency (IEA), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and prevent any further new fossil fuel developments.

The intervention from the world’s scientific community comes as the Environment Minister, joined by two coal mining companies, defends the decision not to take climate change into account when approving fossil fuel projects.

“Even though the IEA, UNFCCC and UN Secretary-General have all declared that new fossil fuel projects are incompatible with keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees, the new Australian Government has already approved four new coal mines and there are 110 more gas and coal mines in the pipeline. If Australia succeeds in its fossil fuel expansion plans, the other nations of the world will fail in their efforts to prevent dangerous climate change,” said Polly Hemming, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.

“Australia is already the world’s third largest fossil fuel exporter, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia. But despite the dire warnings from the world’s scientists and the clear language from the UN Secretary-General, the Australian Government is not only approving new fossil fuel projects, it is subsidising them and fighting in court to smooth their path.”

The United Nations Climate Ambition Summit will take place on 20 September 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Contact details:

Luciana Lawe Davies
0457 974 636


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